Today's lesson went fine. We were supposed to work on my form, but as is typical, we ended up working on Brego. Brego was jumping fine, bored, but better than usual in the home arena. I don't know what happened, but my position fell apart.
When I got home and looked at the pictures, I actually cried. I don't think I have ever looked so bad in my life. Some pictures were just awful. I was pivoting over my knee, my leg swung back, and I jumped ahead. And somehow, the only comment I got from my trainer about my position was that I was hitting the back of the saddle and to stay up more. Once again, watching Brego was more fun than watching me.
So I don't know. I feel like it's not working. Total breakdown. After I calmed down, I studied the photos again. I think I might have some clue as to my crazy elbows.
What is up with those elbows?? I know I want to do a following release at verticals, with some contact and support to get Brego off the ground. But why are my reins so long that when I take up contact while forward at the fence, I have to bend my elbows like that?? Well, it might just be that a fraction of a second earlier on the approach, Brego put his head down.
I have talked with many professionals about this and everyone assures me it's a good thing. And yes, it gets better as the fences get larger because he doesn't have to drop his head to his knees to see the top pole. But look at my reins. My arms are completely extended, I am even giving with my fingers, and he has still absorbed all the slack. And then when it comes time to jump...
Let's take a closer look...
I am not hanging on his face. In fact, in all the pictures, you could see contact in the reins, but the sides of his mouth were not stretched. I go from not enough rein to too much rein in less than a second and to keep the feel, I just absorb it back with my elbows as far as they will go.
What a bizarre problem. I think I am going to do some grids on my Thoroughbred (a much more consistent jumper who does not drop her head before fences) and work on a heavy crest release that I can push off of. Hopefully that will get my upper body back, give my hands something to do instead of take up the slack. And Brego should be fine over spreads with a crest release and he may be getting strong enough to be fine at verticals, too. I don't know, because I always maintain contact off the ground.
So yea, not exactly brilliant riding, but maybe I might just be on to something with the elbows. And as for the leg... I just don't know. Maybe I just can't ride fences.
On that note, how about some nice sitting trot?